Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A violation of my own rules, but this is the best news that i have heard all year. . .

Originally posted on the Onion News.

Follow this link to find the original article:,17171/

U.S. Government To Save Billions By Cutting Wasteful Senator Program
March 30, 2010 ISSUE 46•13
Nearly all of the U.S. senatorial positions were categorized as inefficient redundancies.

WASHINGTON—In an effort to reduce wasteful spending and eliminate non-vital federal services, the U.S. government announced plans this week to cut its long-standing senator program, a move it says will help save more than $300 billion each year.
According to officials, the decision to cut the national legislative body was reached during a budget review meeting on Tuesday. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing U.S. senators far outweighed the benefits they provided.
"Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible," President Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. "When we sat down to go over our annual budget, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the American people? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?"
"The answer was obvious," Obama added. "The U.S. Senate just needed to go."
Established in 1789 as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising senator program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the nation in any significant way since 1964. Last year alone, approximately $450 billion was funneled into the legislative chamber, an amount deemed fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.

In fact, the program has gone unchecked for so long that many in Washington are now unable to recall what purpose U.S. senators were originally meant to serve.
"I'm sure when it was first introduced the U.S. Senate seemed like a worthwhile public service that would aid vast segments of the population and play an important role in the years to come," said Sheila McKenzie, president of the watchdog group the American Center for Responsible Government. "But in reality, this program has been a complete and utter failure."
"It simply doesn't work," she added. "We've been pouring taxpayer dollars into this outdated relic for far too long."
An analysis conducted last week revealed a number of troubling flaws within the long-running, heavily subsidized program, including a lack of consistent oversight, no clear objectives or goals, the persistent hiring of unqualified and selfishly motivated individuals, and a 100 percent redundancy rate among its employees.
Moreover, the study found that the U.S. government already funds a fully operational legislative body that appears to do the exact same job as the Senate, but which also provides a fair and proportional representation of the nation's citizens and has rules in place to prevent one individual from holding the operations of the entire chamber hostage until he is guaranteed massive federal spending projects for his home state of Alabama.
Not only have U.S. Senators cost the country billions of dollars in misspent funds over the years, but Washington insiders claim they have also derailed a wide range of other government programs, from social welfare to job creation to environmental protection.
"Even just the space the Senate currently occupies could be put to better use," consumer advocate Michael Dodgerson said. "Were the government to open a day-care center, a homeless shelter, or even an affordable restaurant in that building, it would make more of a difference in the lives of everyday Americans than what's there now."
So far, reaction to the cutback has been overwhelming positive, with many across the country calling it a long-awaited step toward progress.
Still, a small pocket of the nation's populace vehemently disagreed with Tuesday's decision.
"This is outrageous," said Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut-area resident and concerned citizen who makes more than $150,000 a year, enjoys full health care benefits, and lives comfortably in a large, non-foreclosed home. "The U.S. Senate has always looked out for my best interests. It's always done right by me."
Added Lieberman, "Without it, I'll have no choice but to exploit my extensive connections in the real estate, legal, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries to obtain strictly honorary positions at large companies that, in exchange for my subservience over the years and the prestige of my name, will compensate me generously and allow me to continue living a privileged life without contributing even a moment of my time to the society that has made it all possible."

- Thank you Onion for this article!! Maybe a true fix to the economy ;-P

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A coupla days late

So i promised myself that i would try to only visit my home computer on Fridays to do blogs and other such things but so far i have failed. It's now Tuesday night of the following week and i am just getting to it.
This has been an exciting week. We had an accidental lamb. . . . meaning that we didn't know that the ewe (Dyna) was pregnant. It was the greatest surprise of the week. It happened on Saturday morning, when i am usually not at work. This particular weekend i happened to be at the farm with some freshmen from Bates college who were working off some service project hours. Needless to say, the service project was put on hold. . .

In other news. . . we are back in Boston getting ready for surgery. Many thanks to Sally and Jane, we are crashing their pad again so that we don't have to drive to Boston at the crack of dawn.

Stand by for a focused Friday post. . .

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So on and so forth

This warm weather has me a little nervous. This has been the trend the last two years, both of which led into a very cold and wet summer. The snow is long gone. In fact i am looking very forward to tilling the garden tomorrow.
Amy is home. She is healing very well, and we are looking into surgery number two in order to finish what couldn't be in the last surgery. It will be nice for Amy to be able to fully function this summer. We would love to go out and do things, but we don't want to over work her knee or make her feel left out. . .
Duck eggs have already starting appearing. Last year our three ducks produced eleven offspring. This year we have five ducks. . . eeeeeeek! No eggs from the turkeys yet, but the chickens are producing well. i have resolved that we are going to have or two evil roosters butchered as soon as the nice butcher man opens up. The kids have been having a lot of trouble with the roosters. Especially James, who is largely responsible for the birds. i fear that in my inability to deal with kids being afraid of something silly like a chicken, that i have ruined chicken rearing for James.

It all came clear this weekend. Stu, Mike B. and i went to a retreat with the Sisters of Mercy to learn more about Catherine McCauley. It was insightful, inspiring and much needed.

Since Amy's surgery i have had no quiet time, no still time. The retreat was exactly what i needed to refocus. Catherine's whole life was about love. Where have i failed in my love?

It is a question that will require some pondering in the future. For now i will start with James. . . and the chickens.

Tomorrow (today now) we are going to spend the morning with our neighbors fellowship. It is a Baptist gathering, the tradition that i grew up in, so i am already very skeptical. Why waste the day that could be used for working?

Hopefully the time with family will be worth it and God will speak to us all. It would be good to have us all moving toward being on the same page again. . .

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring. . .or is it

The last few weeks have been such a tease. . . potentially. There is virtually no snow around, the temperatures have been up and the sun has taken center stage in the sky.
The trolls have been outside a lot. The neighborhood has a whole new feel to it these last few months. We went from a couple of kids to a whole mess of them. The street is alive with giggling, running, and chaos.

Amy is recuperating well. She is getting around better and has even managed around the house without her crutch. What a difference the house has been with her out of the loop. The first couple of surgeries weren't too bad, but back then it was just Amy, James and i. Add two more and the work load increases disproportionately. This whole process has helped me to appreciate Amy more. It has also helped me to appreciate single parents (and i know a few). Holding down two jobs (to make up for Amy's not working), doing all of the house work and tending to three kids would end me if i had to do it for any length of time. . . i love my wife.

Planting in our yard starts soon. Well, just as soon as the lakes disappear. Even with no snow we have more than enough precipitation in the form of rain. Even as i am typing the news is commenting on "dry" conditions everywhere in the state except southern Maine. This is the time of year for it and i would rather have it now than all summer.

Happy day before Saint Patty's Day!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I so have to get off my butt and blog

Greetings all. Where ever has all the time gone. There are a few of you who i am hoping haven't fallen off the face of this blog because i have news to post and this seems a festive way to get the word out. . .

So in the last month. . . you know, the month that i didn't blog. . . i have been busy. More importantly, we, as a family have been getting ready for Amy to have surgery. Yup, after 6 years Amy has finally been able to get that knee of hers worked on - again. It has been a grueling month of psychological preparation, especially for A who has been suffering from anxiety over the affair more than she has for any of the previous 5 procedures.
Last Friday she went under the knife. The plan was that they were going to clean out both the top and bottom of her knee (she has P.V.N.S., but don't ask. We have to explain to 90% of the doctors we meet. They usually don't get it either). When the doc got done with the back, so much tissue had been removed and there was so much trauma to the knee that they decided doing both sides would do more harm than good. I was worried that Amy wouldn't take this well because there has been some hope that this might actually be the last surgery. . .no longer is that the case. The good news is that she took the news very well and understood the doctor's concerns - he is an awesome doctor and that helps!
In the days following she has been completely different in recovery than ever before. Her pain is down way below normal, but her dizziness and nausea have been high, and her blood pressure low. She was scheduled to be held an extra day, but then almost sent home a day early. Now we are looking at a "normal" release! So Monday is the plan.

In the mean time i have to thank Jane, Sally, Sean, Shannon, Molly and Seth for putting me up and putting up with me in the greater Boston area. They have been so great getting me acquainted with the out lying suburbs and the "T" and some of the local pubs. It has been a huge help to not have to commute everyday. . . or sleep in the parking garage. Thanks guys!!

In the meantime i am committing myself to spending a little more time posting here, and maybe even throwing up some pictures. . . Stay tuned for fun.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The farm on facebook

Okay, bearing in mind that i have limited Internet smarts, and don't even have a Facebook account. Apparently you have to have a first and last name to start an account. Amy (in her brilliance) set up the farm on Facebook as, 'Theo Pendoorfarm' (i.e. The Open Door Farm).

Pretty clever!!! i got me a good woman here.


It's been a weird year. New job, new schedule, most of the social life is all mixed up. It has been wonderful and hard. . . no more to do list - still not sure how i am surviving day to day without that little gem.
Finding a rhythm in our home life has been weird, and i have struggled more this year with "normal" than i think maybe ever in my life. All the changes have taken a toll on each of us - dad's not home as much now, mom is gone more, (she went back to work), home schooling is harder (math), little kids are becoming big kids (more energy and need to do big kid things). The "rhythm" in our house has been a lot like an epileptic convention atop a snare drum. It has been wearing on all of us.
The light affects me so (i am sure that i have written about this in the past), but the weird weather this year has somehow delayed any symptoms of seasonal depression till now. The last several weeks have been hard on me. The economy, things around the house needing repair, trying to be more "productive" at work (okay, it's winter and i am farmer. . . duh!!!), busy schedules and little home time together. . . its trying. Every stress has a band aid therapy that makes the larger picture a little easier to handle, but a cure for "life" just hasn't really presented itself. . . until yesterday.
We have a friend, Noah. He is a kid, like any other kid who is about to turn 4. Noah's story started when he was very young - he was born with the coolest head of hair EVER!! He was the baby with the curly mohawk. . . it was awesome, but that isn't part of this story. Noah has a condition that is causing him to lose his hearing, at a pretty aggressive rate. It wasn't discovered until well after other kids his age were talking up storms that Noah had never ever heard a wide range of "normal" noises. He has adjust very well, for a child of nearly four, to his new "ears" - he got hearing aids last year.
Noah and Owen (my middle boy) started swimming lessons last week. While Noah is very hard of hearing he is still able to hear  a lot of noises, but not necessarily process them, which can be wicked overwhelming for him. Last week at the first lesson, Noah wouldn't get in the pool. . . i don't blame him! The pool is in a big room with horrible accoustics. Every sound is amplified and the symphony of noises created by a mob of 3 to 5 year olds is like reliving the whole Civil War in half of an hour for a person with normal hearing.
This week Amy and Tammy (Noah's mom) asked me to walk him up to the pool side to help him adjust to the chaotic environment. For some silly reason ladies can't be in the men's locker room at a college. Noah, Owen and i sat alongside the pool while we waited for lessons to start. It was loud in "the fish bowl", but Noah did well. Owen made sure to check on his friend periodically. When class started i joined the other parents at the big window where we all gawk at our children like they are a zoo exhibit. All the kids hopped into the pool. . . except Noah. He was nervous, and the swim instructors didn't want to just pull him in for fear that they might scare him. After a few minutes of negotiations between the instructor and Noah, i was given the go ahead by mom to go in and help out.
I asked Noah if he wanted to swim. He indicated that he didn't. His folks, Amy and i all know that he loves the water, so i lifted him and handed him to the teacher in the pool. Three minutes of tears turned to laughter, smiles, and some of the splashiest kicking ever seen in the Saint Joe's pool.
Noah and family spent the rest of the day at our house. For having been in a reclusive mood the last few weeks i was glad to have had my friends there. The highlight of my day, if not my year, was noticing about half way through the afternoon that Noah, who has religiously called me "Mr. Myke" all his life, had been calling me "Uncle Myke" all day.
Kids are the cure to many woes and ailments - today, Noah was my cure.
Thanks buddy!